Transgender Athletes: IOC Introduces New Framework For Inclusion

New Delhi: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Tuesday released a new framework on transgender inclusion. It said that no athlete should be excluded from competition on the grounds of a perceived unfair advantage due to their gender, Reuters reported.

The governing body, however, added that it was not in a position to issue regulations that define eligibility criteria for every sport, leaving it up to federations to determine if an athlete was at a disproportionate advantage.

The move comes after the Tokyo Olympics where the first openly transgender athlete, weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, competed at the games and defending 800-meter champion Caster Semenya was among track athletes with intersex conditions and naturally high testosterone levels excluded from their events.

The 10-point document, which was prepared over the course of two years in consultation with more than 250 athletes and other stakeholders, will be rolled out after the Beijing Winter Games next year, replacing the guidelines issued in 2015.

The new framework said transgender athletes would be allowed to compete, provided their testosterone levels were below a certain limit for at least 12 months before their first competition.

“You don’t need to use testosterone (to decide who can compete) at all. But this is guidance, it’s not an absolute rule,” said IOC medical director Richard Budgett.

The IOC also said sex testing and “invasive physical examinations” used to verify an athlete’s gender were “disrespectful” and “potentially harmful”.

“We really want to make sure that athletes are not pressured or coerced into making a harmful decision about their bodies,” said Magali Martowicz, IOC head of human rights.

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